It’s nap time and I keep penning this blog post in my head while I lay in bed, so I might as well just get it out. I’ve been wanting to share how we’re doing as we adjust to life with two children.
As with having a newborn, we are tired. Imogen’s sleep has been getting progressively better, but it has been hard to be so exhausted. The sleep I have been getting hasn’t felt very restful and its been in shorter chunks.
At around week five or six I had a very vivid dream, in one of the fitful pockets of sleep I did get. I realized thinking back on it, how telling it is about where we’re at right now.
Ian, Imogen and I were in a speedboat. I was sitting in the driver’s seat. Ian was right behind me, and Imogen was laying down in a seat at the back. We were playing and having fun. Then I turned around to look out the front and realized we were going really fast. There were lots of boats, big and small, around us. The water was choppy. I grabbed hold of the steering wheel so we didn’t get in an accident. I could steer, but the boat still felt like it had a mind of its own.
After a few minutes of this I realized I had forgotten about the kids. My heart jumped up into my throat because (this is a dream, mind you) I remembered that half the boat was gone. It had been cut lengthwise and what was left was the driver’s side, front and back. I was terrified that with all the bumps and speed Imogen had fallen out and into the water because she couldn’t hold on.
I turned around and both kids were still there. I breathed a sigh of relief, slowed the boat down, and drove over to the side of the lake to stop and make sure they were okay.
That was the end of the dream.
I think it really is the perfect metaphor for life in the Haggard Haus right now. I’m just trying to keep our kids strapped in. And alive. And not too traumatized by the ride.
The first few days after all our family left and Jason had gone back to work were particularly hard. I was tired. Ian was getting a lot less attention. Imogen was having crying spells in the mornings. I remember feeling anxious in the evenings, anticipating the next day’s trials.
Thankfully, I don’t feel all that anxious about it anymore. But there’s still a learning curve, a forging ahead into whatever the new normal is in our house. When I figure out what that looks like, I will let everyone know (if you’re interested).
There have been quite a few tears–Ian’s, Imogen’s, mine. I’ve been angry and annoyed. I’ve felt so exhausted that I could park myself anywhere (the bathroom floor, next to the dishwasher, in a pile of dirty laundry) and pass out. Yet I’ve also felt the frustration of insomnia, when, in the middle of the night, everyone is sleeping, EXCEPT ME.
I think one of the lowest points happened when Ian, Imogen, and I were out on a walk last week. This was on Day 3 of Jason’s trip to Hawaii. You can imagine, for this reason, that we were all tired, and tired of each other.
But, we had gotten out of the house. That’s one big step in the right direction. We were going to do our route–stop at the blueberries, then walk to the park and see the progress they are making on the new playground, and then walk home.
Between the blueberries and the playground Ian told me that he wanted to leave Imogen on the side of the road. I tried to explain to him that we would miss her so much, we couldn’t do that. I don’t think he was really listening to me.
About a block up from that conversation Ian sat down on the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the road and said “Leave me here.” At first I thought maybe he was just being silly. But he insisted.
I said to him, “What if a scary person comes and takes you? I don’t want that, I would miss you so much.”
“I want them to take me. Leave me here!”
I realized right then that he felt ignored. Un-special. Frustrated with his lot in life.
Yeah, as a mother, that was a pretty low moment. I didn’t cry about it then (one of us needed to keep it together), but I definitely have since.
I’ve had a time or two (or more) myself in the last few weeks where I would’ve loved to plop down somewhere and announced to the world that I am checking out.
In fact, my mind has taken me to all the places I want to go and things I want to do when my kids are grown up and off on their own. It’s also taken me to blog posts I want to write, how blissful our Hawaii vacation will be, all the reasons why I am worthy of being pitied, and what I’m going to do when Jason gets home from work and I get some “relief.”
Those are my side-of-the-road, low moments.
I’ve also felt overwhelmed by how impossible it seems to be a good mom to each of my kids. Sometimes it feels like Imogen spends her entire life sitting in the swing in the middle of our living room, watching the world go by. In fact, I’m convinced the back of her head is misshapen for this reason.
And I don’t know how many times I have heard Ian say “Play with me!” His tone gets more desperate the more his request is put off.
And then, after all that, be a good wife? Cause you know, I do have a husband, as well. And he’s a human being, so he has needs, too.
It just feels overwhelmingly impossible. I tell myself that God made it possible to get married and procreate, so it’s got to work out somehow. My only explanation is that something supernatural has got to be going on for it to be achievable. And grace. I need grace.
I know I sound doomsday and let me tell you, it has been doomsday around here more than any of us would like. But, because of this I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why I’m sticking it out. Why it matters to me so much that we not only survive, but thrive. And God has reminded me of this:
I get to be a mom. And I get to be married to Jason.
When I think about it, these are two pretty great things. And the more I’ve thought about it, the more God affirms to me that this is the right place for me. I have never felt more dedicated to these roles. And I don’t think I’ve ever loved my family so much.
Ironically, one of my greatest highs happened only a few minutes after Ian’s sidewalk meltdown. We stopped at the convenience store across from the park and Ian picked out a popsicle. We have never done this before. He thought it was the best thing in the world.
We walked home from there and all along the way Ian kept offering me licks from his popsicle. I told him it really made me glad to see him wanting to share with me. I said, “You know, I think God is really working in your heart.”
And he said, “Yeah, Mommy, Jesus really is working in my heart.”
And this comes from the child who lately has refused to pray and disagrees with me when I tell him God loves him. In fact, he disagrees with me about pretty much everything right now.
But there you have it. From out of the mouths of babes.
In all my worrying, the kid just needed me to joyfully purchase him a popsicle and talk to him all the way home.
The other high I had was that evening. I was checking in with Jason via phone before I went to bed. He had spent the day driving around Oahu since Jordan was busy with appointments with his mom. He had a large chunk of time to explore, to think, to relax.
“Did you have a good day?” I said.
He said, “Yeah, I really did. And I really look forward to telling you all about it when I get home.”
I can’t recreate with my words the tone with which he said this. All I can say is that he sounded alive. And I haven’t heard that coming from inside him in a long time. It put a smile on my face and joy in my heart.
Yes, I think we’re all going to be okay. I think God is taking care of us. We’re certainly getting a lot of His love and grace.
And it doesn’t hurt that my kids are so stinkin’ cute.